the sparkly life: The Day I Designed My Own Sandals at Amanu

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Day I Designed My Own Sandals at Amanu

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During the summer after I graduated college, I went to Greece with my family. And one of my favorite memories from the trip was visiting "The Poet Shoemaker" in Athens. This was a famous elderly man who was both a poet and a cobbler, creating gorgeous leather sandals fitted exactly to your feet, while you waited. It was the coolest experience, the sandals were beautiful and fit perfectly, and I still have them. (The quality was and is incredible!) So, when I caught a mention of Amanu, a sandal-making studio in Los Angeles, on my friend Hitha's Instagram, it brought back those custom-sandal memories.

When we headed out on our West Coast road trip this summer, I knew I had to check them out. So one morning in L.A. (I'll write part two of the road trip soon, I promise!), my sister-in-law Kerri and I left our kids with our husbands, and headed off on our own to make some shoes! (Note: I'm pretty sure they accept walk-ins, but we had pre-booked slots online, so there woudn't be a wait.)

Amanu is a small, adorable little 
shop tucked just off Melrose. You choose from around ten different styles of sandals, two different leather soles (black or nude), and then a large selection of colors, materials, and sizes of straps. I'm super indecisive, so if you go, I'd recommend doing what I did, which was looking at their website and Instagram beforehand. That meant I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted before I got there. 

I had fallen in love with Style 08 almost immediately via Instagram. It has a thin leather strap around your big toe, a second over your foot, and then long suede straps that tie around your ankle. And though there were a million different ways I could have gone in terms of color, I actually didn't take long choosing my those either. I went with nude soles, rose-gold leather for the foot and toe straps, and then tan suede for the ankle ties. (Kerri got Style 09 with tan straps on a black sole.)

Then, comes the really cool part: They measure your feet for a custom fit, and start building your shoes! You're paired with a cobbler or "maker" (mine was Khoi) who creates the shoe right there in front of you, and it all happens right in the middle of the store, hammers, tacks and all. They'll stop occasionally to place it on your foot to test out the fit, but the whole process is surprisingly quick--maybe 30 minutes? 

Once the shoes are completed, and you're totally happy with the fit, they'll place them in one of their cute reusable crochet shopping bags. (They each have a piece of leather stamped with "Amanu," which I learned is actually repurposed scraps from the shoes. Love that. No waste!) 

The shoes certainly aren't cheap (they vary a little depending on the materials used; mine were around $250), but they definitely don't feel cheap either. They are clearly beautifully made with high-quality materials. I love mine, and can't wait to go back. Maybe a black pair next time? ;)

(And because it needs to be said: This is not sponsored and I received no discount on my shoes!)


SimplyTasheena said...

This looks like a wonderful experience. How cool is it to design every aspect of your shoes. I love the way that they turned out.

Alli Smith said...

I would love to design my own sandals. What a fun experience and at the end you have a beautiful pair of custom sandals. I love this and your sandals are gorgeous!

Pam said...

This is something I would love to do myself. Those sandals are beautiful and how fun to have a pair no one else will have!

Jeannette said...

How cool is that?! I would love to do something like that. I don't know if I'm creative enough to do it but I definitely love to try it. The ones you made are just beautiful.

AiringMyLaundry said...

I love how these turned out! This would be fun to try out. I need to do this one day.

Jenny said...

So cool!

candy said...

What a different and unusual experience to be involved in. Making your own style shoes must have been fun and very satisfying.

GiGi Eats said...


Terri Steffes said...

Ok, this is something I want to do with my daughter. This would be incredible. Now to find my way to LA via St. Louis!

Heather Jones said...

That sounds amazing! I love those bags and I love what a personalized experience you got with him making you sandals. It just sounds so lovely. I would love to go to Greece one day.

Shannan Powell said...

How much fun is that?! I can't count the times that I have had an image in my mind for a pair of shoes I want, but just can't find what I am looking for.

Morgan Zach said...

I dig these a lot, super creative!

Anosa Malanga said...

Wow, this is so cool. I have never been to Greece yet and I guess this is perfect to learn about this so that I can include it on my visit. Definitely would want to try this out. Making my very own design.

Gust si Aroma said...

wow! I think this is such a beautiful experience! I love the design of your sandals!

Kita Bryant said...

I need to do that to a pair for myself now. That must have been so much fun! said...

I'm in love with all of these gorgeous hand-made sandals! I'm a summer person, so I have a wonderful collection of sandals and flip flops.

Madeline said...

I've been dying to go here! I saw one of my favorite make up artists go into the store, and have been waiting for my next trip out there! They are gorgeous!

acupofassamtea said...

This was quite an experience. Love the way it turned out. Chic.

Unknown said...

They are super cutee!!

slehan said...

That would be fun. I love good sandals.

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